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John Moravec’s Survey: Does The Future Need Schools? Part 1

In March, John Moravec at Education Futures conducted a survey asking “Does The Future Need Schools?

John has reached out to a select, diverse group of contacts from around the world to help bring some insight to the subject, aiming to generate an ecology of ideas for future research.

“As the future of work seems to become increasingly uncertain, schools charged with creating future-ready workers have changed very little over the past few centuries,” says Moravec. “A school from 2018 looks and functions little different than a school in 1918 would have operated. As we look 10, 20, or 50 years into the future, will ‘school’ be relevant?”

The question was deceitfully simple, and the responses were rich. Education Futures reveals they have got some great answers and they shared what they have learned in a free, online webinar held Wednesday, May 16, when Kelly Killorn-Moravec and John presented their findings and then opened the floor for conversation, comments, and questions.

A write-up summary of those findings will also be shared in the Education Futures newsletter. John Moravec has most generously granted me the privilege of posting a full update with details on his findings on this blog.

Stay tuned for the upcoming “John Moravec’s Survey: Does The Future Need Schools? Part 2”, covering the survey main findings.

Preview of Kelly Killorn-Moravec’s Deep Dive Into The Data

My Personal Stand

I believe school settings will experience disruptive changes, similar to the radical changes observed over the last two decades in creative companies’ workspaces.

As stated by Clark Aldrich in his book Unschooling Rules, "Today what a person learns in a classroom is how to be a person in a classroom."

In the future, I believe students shall only attend a school building part time, which is the essence of the space-time concept – the space they need for the time they need. (Please find also the SpaceTime concept developed by Chadwick- Space Strategy, Architecture + Design, who implemented the SpaceNet® configuration for Andersen Consulting West Europe, hereinafter Accenture West Europe, as the company changed its name).

Our current education system has its roots in the industrial age society. Today, however, students are much more social and enjoy to learn in a less structured way, anytime, anywhere. Learning is no longer limited to the confines of a traditional classroom.

The new learning space environment shall offer a variety of settings, as catalysts for changing classrooms into research & experimentation workshops, moving away from the post industrial revolution settings, conceived for mass production.  

This change in structure will emphasize the concept that the school student is at the core of the learning experience, rather than the teacher. Educators will then focus on what matters most: creating opportunities and environments in which students learn and thrive, establishing the foundation of a learner-centric education.

As reported by the Future Learning Spaces (FLS) project: 

The FLS is constructed according to a modular design that can be changed as necessary. The change in structure emphasizes the concept that the school student is the focus of the lesson, rather than the teacher.

The FLS concept changes the classroom into an authentic Research & Experimentation workshop, providing students with a full circle learning experience, while enabling them to approach a topic from every angle.

“In fact, sometimes it is the students who will be doing the teaching as they report upon their findings during the learning process. The students instruct themselves as they see fit, whether it be individual internet research, group discussion, planning a joint experiment with a partner and more. This classroom of the future eliminates passive learning, transforming the teacher’s role to one of a mentor, guiding students through the active learning process, adapting the curriculum to students’ individual needs, and enabling students to learn at their own pace.”

In the article “What will schools of the future look like?”, Dave Townsend, a former business and law teacher, predicts a school where students aren’t always on site:

“Build schools half the size that they are now, for the same number of pupils but half the size,” he suggests. “Build it to a high standard – think something like a Google Campus. Have students come into the school three days a week and then the other two they can work from home. They’ll be able to access a teacher when they need one but you won’t need such a big building because you’ll be dealing with fewer students on site at one time.”